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The newest big cat.
The Jaguars know that you have to pass to win, and by taking Justin Blackmon in the first round, they've taken a step toward a 21st Century offense. Blackmon is the best receiving prospect in this draft, and Jacksonville has given Blaine Gabbert a serious target to go with Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Jones-Drew.
Blackmon is big and fast. He's got serious big-play ability. There have been some questions as to whether he's a true #1 or more of a second receiver, but regardless of his ceiling, he's instantly better than anyone else on the Jags roster.
Greg Cosell of NFL Films said of him:
Blackmon aligned both outside and in the slot in Oklahoma State’s offense. He is smooth and fluid as a route runner. He’s big — 6-foot-1, 207 pounds — and that size shows in his stride length. He has strong hands and a wide catching radius, comfortably snatching passes that are thrown outside of his body frame. He displays very good body control and flexibility to adjust to poorly thrown balls. With the ball in his hands, he is deceptively quick, displaying the run-after-catch ability you want to see.
This is a make-or-break, no excuses pick for the Jaguars. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert has come under fire for his erratic play, and now the Jags have given him a legitimate target. Mike Mularkey is an offensive minded coach, and Gene Smith has given him the tools to build a credible offense. If the Jags don't show serious offensive improvement, Gabbert and Smith will likely shoulder the blame.
The Jags traded up to get Blackmon, but only gave up a fourth-round pick. That's a small price to pay to get a player who could end up being a franchise-altering receiver.
I don't know if Blackmon is a true number one in the NFL. Maybe he is nothing more than a number two, but if so, he can still be an outstanding second receiver.
What truly matters is that this shows the Jags 'get it'. They've left their ground and pound ways behind and are ready to start building the right kind of team. In the long run, this change of philosophy will pay off in victories.